Journal articles

Muhle, F., Ackland, R. and T. Graham (2018), "Socialbots in politischen Online-Konversationen. Eine (überschätzte) Gefahr für demokratische Willensbildung im Internet?," Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen, 49(3). English translation of title: "Socialbots in online political conversations. An (overestimated) danger for democratic opinion-formation on the Internet?"

Ackland, R. and D. Halpin (2018), "Change or stability in the structure of interest group networks? Evidence from Scottish public policy consultations," forthcoming Journal of Public Policy

Ackland, R, O'Neil, M. and S. Park (2018), "Engagement with News on Twitter: Insights from Australia and Korea," forthcoming Asian Journal of Communication, special issue on Introducing Computational Social Science for Asia-Pacific Communication Research.

Book chapters

O'Neil, M. and R. Ackland (2018), "Towards a Theory of Online Field/Forces," in M. Allen, J. Hunsinger & L. Klastrup (eds), International Handbook of Internet Studies Vol.2. Amsterdam: Springer.

Refereed conference proceedings

Rizoiu, M.-A., Graham, T., Zhang, R., Zhang, Y., Ackland, R. and L. Xie (2018), "#DebateNight: The Role and Influence of Socialbots on Twitter During the 1st 2016 U.S. Presidential Debate", In International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM ’18), pages 1–10, arXiv eprint 1802.09808

See related article by Business Insider Australia.

Working papers

O'Neil, M. and R. Ackland (2018), "Competition in an Online Social Movement Field," revise and resubmit.

Halpin, D., Fraussen, B. and R. Ackland (2018), "Do Advocacy Groups Reach Their Audiences on Twitter? Explaining the online engagement of elite, peer and mass audiences with interest groups," under review.

Robertson, C., Dutton, B., Ackland, R. and T. Peng (2018), "The Democratic Role of Social Media in Political Debates: The Use of Twitter in the First Televised US Presidential Debate of 2016," in preparaton.


ANU Cross-College Research Grant from the ANU Research School of Social Sciences for "Advanced tools and methods for analysing the role and influence of bots in social media" (M.A. Rizoiu, T. Graham, J. Davis, R. Ackland, L. Xie, D.Halpin; 2018).

Conference/workshop/seminar presentations

At the 3rd annual Australian Social Network Analysis Conference (ASNAC 2018), Australian National University, Canberra, 27-28 November 2018:

Rob Ackland was the conference chair. 

  • Plenary, session 7 on online networks and crime- "The network structure of political conversations on Twitter"(Rob Ackland).
  • Plenary, session 7 on online networks and crime-"Comparative analysis of community versus topic structure in hyperlink networks: A case study of government portal websites" (Tim Graham).
  • Tool demonstration- "Collecting social media network data with VOSON dashboard and vosonSML" (Bryan Gertzel)
  • Tool demonstration- "Analising networks and text with VOSON dashboard" (Xiaolan Cai)

At the 10th International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo 2018), Saint Petersburg, Russia, 25-28 September 2018:

  • Workshop "Big data analysis for Social Scientists" where VOSON Dashboard- the most recent tool designed and developed in the Lab- was launched (Rob Ackland).
  • Poster session "Exploring the Behaviour of SocialBots in Political Conversations on Twitter" (Rob Ackland).
  • Guest Lecture "Mapping conversations and the spread of information on Twitter" to Master students at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (17-09-2018) (Rob Ackland).

R. Ackland contributed to a panel discussion on the Ethics of Social Media Data at #SocSciWeek 2018 symposium: Digital Society: New Frontiers in Sociological Research, September11, 2018, ANU.

R. Ackland presented "An Approach for Mapping the Spread of News on Twitter" in the Symposium: Understanding the spread of misinformation in the Australian and US media fields, University of Canberra, September 10, 2018.

R. Ackland and T. Graham visited the Médialab Sciences Po in Paris, where they presented at the weekly research methods workshop, July 10, 2018, Paris, France.

R. Ackland was an invited-attendee at the workshop: 10 Years of Web Science: Closing The Loop, Schloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz Zentrum für Informatik (Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz Center for Informatics), 24-29 June, 2018 in Dagstuhl, Germany.

Events organised

Australian Social Network Analysis Conference (ASNAC 2018) held on 27-28 November, 2018, at the ANU. Organised by VOSON Lab and ANU School of Sociology. The keynote speaker was Professor Mark Tranmer, School of Social and Political Sciences (University of Galsgow). See ASNAC 2018 Program


Dr Florian Muhle, Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany. Australia – Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme 2017-18 (Universities Australia – DAAD) “Socialbots as political actors? Autonomous communication technologies as tools and objects for digital sociology”

Training Programs

January 29 to February 2, 2018 - "Big Data Analysis for Social Scientists" 5-day course held at the 2018 ACSPRI Summer Program, University of Melbourne (R. Ackland) (ACSPRI page) (course page)